The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Employer Provided Benefits - Cars


This topic contains information on the assessment of employer provided cars as income for the CSHC income test. It covers the following matters:

  • a definition of a car benefit and exemptions,
  • determining the relevant age of a car,
  • determining the engine capacity and months of use, and
  • determining the assessable income of a car benefit.

Definition of a car benefit & exemptions

A person receives a car benefit if:

  • they are provided with OR have made available to them a car for their private use, and
  • the provider of the car is the person's employer or an associate of the person's employer, OR
  • the car is provided under an arrangement between the car provider and the person's employer or an associate of the person's employer.

A car benefit is EXEMPT if:

  • it is not classified under SSAct section 1157C, OR
  • if the vehicle is a taxi, panel van or utility truck, or any other road vehicle designed to carry less than one tonne (other than a vehicle designed for the principal purpose of carrying passengers), and
  • the only private use of the vehicle is for work related travel and other minor, infrequent and irregular private use, OR
  • the vehicle is unregistered.

Act reference: SSAct section 1157C Car benefits

Determining the relevant age of a car

The relevant age of a car is determined by subtracting the car's year of manufacture from the calendar year in which the reference tax year began.

For the purposes of the CSHC, the reference tax year is usually the tax year immediately before the current tax year.

Example: If a person claimed the CSHC in 2015 their reference tax year was 2013‑14 if they made their claim prior to 30 June 2015. If their car was manufactured in 2008, the relevant age of the car is 5 years (2013 less 2008 equals 5). If the person claimed the CSHC from 1 July 2015 their reference tax year was 2014‑15 and the relevant age of the car is 6 years (2014 less 2008 equals 6).

When reassessments for the CSHC use an estimate of current year income, the rules will give a different outcome. As an estimate is based on the current year's income, the current year becomes the reference tax year.

Example: If an estimate of a person's 2015‑16 income is used the relevant age of the car is 7 years (2015 less 2008 equals 7).

Determining engine capacity & months of use

For assessment purposes, cars are grouped in to 3 categories, based on the following engine capacities:

  • up to 1600cc,
  • 1601 to 2850cc, and
  • over 2850cc.

Determining the assessable income of a car benefit

The assessable income of a car benefit is determined by:

  • its age,
  • the engine capacity of the car, and
  • the number of complete months in the appropriate tax year that a person had or will have the car benefit.

If a person is a member of a couple (1.1.M.120), and both partners receive a car benefit in the appropriate tax year for the same car, each partner (1.1.P.85) is deemed to receive half the value of the car benefit.

SSAct section 1157L(2) contains a table listing car benefit values. The table shows the income per month for cars, according to their age, under each of these engine capacities.

Act reference: SSAct section 1157L(2) Value of car fringe benefits

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.R.105 Reference tax year (CSHC)

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